Prosecutors Seek to Overturn Judge’s ‘Book Report’ Order

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Written By admin at Thursday, May 17th, 2012


Otis Mobley Jr., a 23-year-old from the San Francisco Bay Area, faces charges that could put him away for a long time, including assault on a federal agent. Prosecutors say he orchestrated a bogus deal to sell a grenade launcher in the parking lot of a Chevy’s restaurant in Richmond, Calif.

Rather than hock a large weapon, Mr. Mobley, his 18-year-old cousin and an associate tried to rob the buyer of $ 1,000, according to prosecutors.

The Justice Department believes the charges and Mr. Mobley’s past — he admitted in 2009 to shooting a man to death in a drug deal gone bad, for instance — counsel keeping him behind bars pending the outcome of his trial.

But U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, Calif., has granted his release, albeit with several conditions — including a requirement that Mr. Mobley read for an hour a day and submit regular book reports to pretrial services. Judge Rogers intends to release him into the custody of his grandmother on a $ 150,000 bond.

The Justice Department on Tuesday took the unusual step of requesting that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit delay Judge Roger’s order while the government decides whether to file a an appeal. (The government has filed a notice of appeal in Judge Rogers’s court, suggesting that it will.)

Mr. Mobley has never been convicted of a felony, but he has been convicted of several misdemeanors, including “inflicting corporal injury” on the mother of his child and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. In the 2009 incident, Mr. Mobley confessed to killing a man in self-defense during a marijuana deal, using a gun he kept on him for protection. He was arrested but was not charged.

In its filing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California called Mr. Mobley “a flight risk and a serious danger to the community.”

The alleged grenade-launcher ruse cratered when the buyer turned out to be an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Surveillance cameras set up in the agent’s car captured the attempted robbery, according to prosecutors.

According to prosecutors, Mr. Mobley watched from afar as his cohorts got into the agent’s car and put guns to his head. Mr. Mobley ran as more agents swept in and was caught 45 minutes later, according to court documents. Mr. Mobley’s cousin Khusar Mobley and Dmarce Hutcherson, 19, are being held pending trial.

The three were indicted in April on charges of assaulting a federal agent, attempted robbery and conspiring to do both. They also face a weapons charge.

The court noted that he had recently completed a job training program and was working toward his GED at the time of his arrest. Mr. Mobley, who has a four-year-old son, had been working part time as a carpenter and landscaper, according to court documents.

Judge Rogers, in following the recommendation of a magistrate judge, gave little consideration to the arrests that didn’t result in prosecution. The magistrate judge said Mr. Mobley’s lifelong residency in the Bay Area, his lack of foreign travel and the support of his family members and others weighed against labeling him a flight risk.

In addition to the book reports, the Judge Rogers ordered that Mr. Mobley be subject to electronic monitoring and participate in drug and alcohol counseling.

A lawyer for Mr. Mobley didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California declined to comment.

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